(And maybe even make some money!)
Going to the doctor’s office can be a pain. You’re usually sick or hurt and don’t get me started on the waiting! But, it doesn’t have to be so bad. Your doctor is there to help, and there are things you can do to get even more out of your next doctor visit.
Have you ever walked out and realized you forget to talk about something or are unclear of what was talked about? Ever feel like you’re being rushed through the appointment? Here are some tips to make every visit as successful as it can be. The Thrifty Patient is here to help you plan to make the most out of your next doctor visit!
1. Treat yourself like your time is worth at least $150.00 per hour!
You are the CEO, President, and Sole Proprietor of your body. Your time is valuable! Go into the doctor visit with a mission, goals, and the attitude that you’re here to meet with a highly skilled contractor of the most valuable business on the planet, Me. Inc.
2. Write down your agenda, but limit it to 2 or 3 major topics.
Would you believe patients talked about everything they went to the office for on only 21% of doctor visits!
Make sure you set the agenda. Be concise and upfront about why you’re there. The doctor will appreciate it and you’ll be able to leave the office feeling confident that every issue was taken care of.
3. Don’t let the 12-18 second rule get you during your brief Doctor Visit!
12 – 18 Seconds… “That’s the average time it takes a doctor to interrupt you as you’re describing your symptoms. By that point, he/she has in mind what the answer is, and that answer is probably right about 80% of the time.”
– Dr. Groopman
Doctors are highly skilled problem solvers. They quickly want to help you with your health. But when people are nervous they might need a little time to work up to what they want to say. Your doctor won’t take offense if you calmly say there’s more you want to tell them. In fact I’m sure they’ll be happy you gave them even more info to work with!
Trust me, your doctor has seen it all. By keeping details to yourself that you find embarrassing, you leave vital clues out of the picture. Personally, I’m proud when I do manage to shock my doctor, like the time I got Pink Eye so badly the doc exclaimed “Whoa!”.
5. Write It Down Before You Leave!
Going to the doctor is stressful. Studies show 40% to 80% of what you’re told is forgotten before you leave! I mean come-on, it takes doctors years of training to learn all this stuff, how are you supposed to remember it when sick and worried?
Before you leave the office, write down what the doctor tells you and use the Teach-Back method to make sure you got it straight.
As the doctor is telling you what will happen next, write it down, then at the end say “Ok Doc, let me make sure I’ve understood all you said”. You’ll be surprised, you might even think of questions while you recite it back to them!
6. Check Those Meds!
St. Joseph’s recommends that, for your safety, you keep a list of all your medications and bring that list with you whenever you visit your doctor. The doctor will appreciate it and it might save you a costly visit in the future to correct a mistake.
Here’s a great link to a medication sheet that St. Joseph’s created which you can fill out before your next visit!
7. Save on Drugs
One in seven people don’t get their prescriptions because they cost too much. Part of the reason The Thrifty Patient was created is to help end this. If you’re having trouble paying for drugs, ask about a discount drug card during your next doctor visit. They’re free and offices usually have a stack lying around.
They also may have samples. Trust me, if they have samples they want to get them off their hands and into the hands of patients who can use them!
8. Want Free Money? Check Your HSA!
Do you have a Health Savings Account (HSA)? Some employers have their HSAs setup so that if you complete a physical, dental, and eye appointment – or meet other conditions – they’ll contribute a ton of money to it. This could be hundreds of dollars of free money!
If you do have an HSA check with your employer to see if they offer this perk. Then on your next Doctor visit plan to get that physical done. It might also catch a problem that you can fix now rather then later!
Find Out About All the Money You’re Losing if you have a High Deductible Plan but No HSA in our upcoming April article!
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